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Transition or die

One of the strongest arguments in favor of gender transition is that the person may commit suicide. They may also engage in other self-destructive behaviors like cutting or drug abuse, which carry the risk of accidental death. If the risk of self-destructive behavior is high for a person, I think most people would agree that transition is the better option.

A major problem, though, is that there are people who commit suicide after transition. As with all suicides, it is impossible to know in any given case whether a person’s transition was a factor in their decision to kill themselves, but in some cases at least it is clear that transition made them less satisfied with their lives. If we accept that the risk of suicide after transition is higher for a person, then we can agree that not transitioning is the better option.

There are others who might not commit suicide, but who are miserable in their assigned gender and have exhausted all options for improvement. Most people would probably agree that transition is appropriate. A fourth group would probably not commit suicide if they transitioned, but they would be miserable. Most people would probably agree that transition is not appropriate.

Then there is a group who would be equally satisfied with either option. I would probably put myself in the fifth, “transition optional” group. I have chosen not to transition, but if I were to wake up one day in the body of a postoperative transsexual, I would live that life and try to enjoy it to the fullest.

I should point out here that I’ve made all these groups the same size. I do not mean to suggest that they all contain the same number of people. I don’t know how many people are in any of these groups.

I want to stress that all of us on this spectrum have the same transgender feelings. We all feel a desire to be a different gender from the one they were assigned. Some may feel that desire stronger than others, and some may feel a competing desire to remain in their assigned gender, but on the basis of feelings we are all transgender.